How do you lose the weight you gain in menopause?
This is the most commonly asked question I hear. You still eat healthily, in fact, you're drowning under a mountain of kale and coconut water and religiously endure tucking yourself into exercise tights to endure the gym full of buff bods but you aren't losing that extra weight that appeared out of nowhere? Read on my kale chomping friend
Towards the end of perimenopause for me I remember looking at my belly in the mirror one day and thinking with Marie Kondoish certaintiy "you don't bring me joy, thank you for being a part of me but now you have to go."
I researched like a crazy woman. Like many women I speak to I had very little sugar n my diet, had cut out high carb foods and all grains but still owned this belly. Why?
Was I just the unlucky one who was destined to feel frumpy for the rest of my life or was there something I could do about it?
Turns out there was.
How your body sheds, stores or makes fat comes mostly down to your metabolic rate which is affected by things such as your
- Activity level - I thought mine was good but I wasn't doing the right type of activites.
- history of dieting - hmm, I hate to think how many diets I've attempted over the years. How about you?
- body composition - Me, short and and put on weight around my middle.
- and what you eat - I thought I was doing well, but maybe not so much.
There is a delicate balance within the body and when it gets out of whack we put on weight. To reverse that we need to come back into balance.
you commonly experience lower energy levels, more digestive discomfort, weight gain, as well as aches and pains. Hormones begin to get out of balance as levels begin to drop.
Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers,
helping to control nearly every physiological process in the body. Some of the important functions they contribute to in our body are energy, digestion, hunger, sleep and metabolism. If these delicate workhorses are out of balance our health can suffer and weight can pile on.
Continual stress, poor sleep, no exercise, and an unhealthy diet can all contribute to hormonal imbalance. Does any of this sound like you? I know poor sleep was definitely part of my list.
Of all the lifestyle factors we need to consider when it comes to hormones I think our sugar intake is one of the most important considerations.
We know that if we eat too much sugar in the form of cakes, soda and sweets we are going to put on weight. But we also need to include here empty refined carbs, you know the culprits
- white bread
- white rice
And let's not beat around the bush here. When you see wholegrain, natural, high fibre. These don't equate with healthy. They can still be high in empty carbs that are going to paste themselves straight to your stomach.
One of the major issues that can arise from a sugar ladened diet is insulin resistance.
means you have excess insulin in your body and your cells no longer react properly to its instructions. Insulin’s job is to give the cells glucose for energy. If it can't do that it will store it as fat! It get's it's glucose in the form of carbs that you eat. The more carbs, the more glucose the more insulin and fat.
When insulin is out of balance, other hormones go out of kilter too.
In perimenopause, we can develop insulin resistance
because our bodies can no longer deal with high amounts of carbohydrates we eat. Too much sugar builds up in our blood, and the result is hormone havoc: hot flashes, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, weight gain, and other perimenopausal symptoms. Read more about hormonal balance here.
When insulin is not working properly, our body produces more and more to process the same amount of glucose to provide fuel for our muscles and brain. The difficult thing about this is that the more insulin you have circulating in the body, the harder it becomes to burn body fat.
So you could be eating a healthy diet and exercising yet unable to lose any weight. See this post for more on this.
If you have no idea what you should be eating instead of those empty carbs. Check out my Food Swaps in the box below. It gives some great ideas for what you can eat instead.
Bonus: For joining my weekly newsletter, download the free cheat sheet
ULTIMATE FOOD SWAPS
and have easier weight loss in midlife and menopause.
start seeing the scales move in the right direction!
There is plenty of research to show the influence that sleep has on your metabolic rate.
And as we age it can be more difficult to get a good night’s sleep.
The general consensus is to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night to help avoid weight gain.
Solution: Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. The best place to start is by implementing a calming before bedtime routine and making sure you are comfortable and turned off from outside distractions once you get into bed.
- Go to bed with time to read or journal. Get what is in your head out. I have a pretty journal that I get out every night and write my affirmations, gratitutudes and a short list of to-dos for the next day.
- We have a bedroom that is quite light so I fully recommend wearing an eyemask. I never thought I could get used to it, now I couldn't do without mine. Much like the eyemask I also now wear earplugs. We live near a city so noise can sometimes be a problem. I once researched the best earplugs to wear and overwhelmingly good old soft foam plugs came up as the best. They block out a great deal of sound.
- If you have trouble getting sleep maybe try this Dodow device that will help you to slow down your breathing, putting your body into relaxaion mode and sending you to sleep.
- Turn off electronics an hour before turning out the light. Don't eat for at least 2 hours before retiring.
There are so many things that can trigger stress responses in your body. That stress response then triggers hormones that make us want to eat more and not know when to stop.
To make matters worse there are hormones that make us crave the bad things.
While you can’t necessarily change your stressors, you can adjust your response to them.
Pro Tip: Regular meditation or yoga is a great place to start. For a quick way to calm stress try the 4-7-8 method of breathing.
Need some help on how to get your stress levels down. Check out this handy dandy free download in the box below. It gives some easy to do quick fixes.
Ageing and lifestyle factors
can wreak havoc with our hormones making it difficult to lose the weight you gain in menopause but the body is very forgiving. Eating healthy whole foods and including more movement in your day can reverse insulin resistance and restore hormone balance. Only then will we find ourselves able to lose weight.
For more on balancing hormones in menopause check out this great article at Mind Body Green-
This is an updated post from September this year. I added information from a much older post to give you a bigger picture of why you might be finding it difficult to lose weight.